Bowls: Capital Fours challenge hit for a six

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Portobello faired better than across-town rivals Bainfield in the Capital’s challenge in the playdowns of the Scottish Indoor Bowls Fours Championship but neither club set the pulse racing.

The early round venue for both clubs was Glasgow IBC and it was a journey in vain for Bainfield with their rink of Chris Conway, David Greig, Jim Hutchison and John Kidd coming a cropper against Allander.

The Allander rink of Douglas Maclean, Steve Oatway, Gordon Cameron and John Harvey did, however, turn out to be a bit special as, after eliminating Bainfield 30-13 in the preliminary round, they carried on to win the section.

Portobello’s Denis Anderson, Keith Adamson, Colin Hairs and Scott Mackintosh showed early promise when edging Coatbridge in a 19-18 thriller.

In the first round proper, Stirling were the opposition and Mackintosh and Co impressed with a 17-13 victory that moved them on to Lanarkshire IBC for a crack at Allander.

Allander dominated the confrontation, however, to beat the Portobello rink 17-8 then they added a 23-18 win over Blantyre to reach the semi-finals at Coatbridge on March 31 where they tackle Auchinleck.

Midlothian fielded a strong rink in the same section but Steven Currie, Scott Matthews, Billy Peacock and Graeme Archer crashed out 21-17 to Irvine in the preliminary round.

West Lothian came into the playdown action as holders of the national title and the same line up of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs launched their defence against Perth at Bainfield.

Speirs and Co – bidding to become only the second rink to capture the Fours crown two years in a row – started like a house on fire and blazed their way to a 32-16 win over Perth in the preliminary round.

Falkirk shaped up as stiff opposition in the first round proper but the West Lothian challenge continued as Speirs and his rink completely dominated the scoring to triumph 26-3.

It was, therefore, a major shock to the West Lothian support when they watched their rink sink 19-13 to East Fife.

However, East Fife failed to progress farther when losing 20-11 to Alloa’s Alan Morrison, Ian Inglis jun, Steven Allan and Bruce Ramage in the section final.

Alloa, who knocked out the much-fancied East Lothian champions of Mark Johnston, Stevie Thomson, Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver 24-15 in the preliminary round, will now face Aberdeen in the semis.

Balbardie – in action at Bainfield – opened with a 24-15 win over Headwell but the rink of Gary Orr, Graeme Keery, Diz Drysdale and Graeme Byrne lost 15-9 to East Fife in the first round.